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Man assaulted shop assistant who asked him for ID

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

Bristol Crown Court
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A youthful-looking shopper put a shop assistant in a headlock and punched him in the face after being asked for ID when buying cigarettes.

Carl Hart had been drowning his sorrows on the anniversary of his deceased mum’s birthday, Bristol Crown Court was told.

When Tony McKenna asked him for proof of identity at McColls in Devonshire Road, Weston-super-Mare. Hart swore at him before launching his attack. Mr McKenna suffered a broken nose and a fractured right cheek bone.

Father-to-be Hart, 26, of Lonsdale Avenue, Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding in August last year.

The recorder Stephen Hall told him: “You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to a brutish act of violence against someone who was simply carrying out his job, to stand behind the counter and serve members of the public.

“In the course of his job the victim acted entirely properly and no blame can be attached to him.

“You presented Mr McKenna with a wholly unprovoked attack.”

Hart was given a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, as well as an order to undergo a year’s alcohol misuse treatment.

Paul Connell, prosecuting, said the shop had an over-25s policy for cigarette buyers and Hart became abusive when told he would not be served without showing ID.

Mr Connell said a struggle ensued as Hart made a grab in the direction of cigarettes behind the till.

He told the court: “Mr McKenna said he was able to pull the defendant from behind the counter.

“The defendant put him into a headlock and he was telling the defendant to leave. Whilst he had him in a headlock the defendant punched Mr McKenna to the right eye.”

The court heard Hart then left the shop, swearing and screaming: “You’re lucky to still be walking!”

Though Mr McKenna suffered serious injuries no surgery was required and he was set to make a full recovery, the court heard.

Hart told police he was very drunk at the time, expressed remorse and was very upset with himself.

Jonathan Stanniland, defending, said his client had often used the shop to buy cigarettes in the past.

Mr Stanniland said: “This was a drunken quarrel, on the defendant’s part, which escalated well beyond the bounds of sober commons sense. He (Hart) grossly over-reacted.”

Mr Stanniland said his client had drunk to excess on the anniversary of his deceased mum’s birthday.

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